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‘Trust no one’: Business owner speaks out after officer manager pleaded guilty to embezzling $719K

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — June Brennan says she and her husband trusted Camille Pirrone-Hess. They hired her about eight years ago to be the office manager of their family company, Lancaster Tanks and Steel.

But when they decided to sell it, they noticed something strange — a $400 charge on one of their company credit cards for a cabana at the New York, New York hotel in Las Vegas.

Neither June nor her husband had been there recently.

They checked with the hotel and learned it was charged to Pirrone-Hess’ company card.

They did some digging and learned that she had made more than 2,000 unauthorized purchases with the company card.

“I can’t even tell you the emotion, the shock, the disappointment that we felt upon learning about her deceit, you know, you trust people and it just makes you feel that, oh my God, what is wrong with people?” Brennan told 7 News in a phone interview Tuesday.

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that 59-year-old Camille Pirrone-Hess of Depew pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court to one count of second-degree grand larceny.

Erie County District Attorney’s Office

The district attorney’s office said between July 8, 2016, and August 7, 2023, Pirrone-Hess stole $719,122.41 by making more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions with the company credit card while she worked as an office manager.

Pirrone-Hess used the company credit card to fund her lifestyle and the purchases included vacations, event tickets, donations to charitable causes, her child’s college tuition, jewelry, electronics, furniture, utility bills and other personal expenses.

The district attorney’s office said as a condition of the plea, Pirrone-Hess signed a Confession of Judgment to pay full restitution of $719,122.41.

Pirrone-Hess is scheduled to be sentenced on July 29 and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. She was released on her own recognizance.

Brennan had some advice for other small business owners: set up a system of checks and balances, audit your finances and “Trust no one.”

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